Random Thoughts Thursday

Man, it has been so hard to update this thing. When do you folks find the time? Actually, it’s not an issue with time; but rather, an issue of not wanting to look at a computer screen at home after sitting in front of a computer screen for 8-10 hours at work. My goal is to try to update at least three times a week. We’ll see how this goes. 

On to the randomness. 

  • I have been in a training lull for the past few weeks. Hopefully, that will change now that I have a few races on the calendar. 
  • I still have not ran with the two running groups that I joined back in January. 😦
  • Anyone check out the news about the pictures of a black hole ( *** )?
  • Word on the street is that I may have an opportunity to visit Hawai’i this fall. 
  • I’ve been watching old episodes of Family Matters on Hulu. As a 39-year old, I find Steve Urkel’s character to be quite annoying and distracting from the show’s focus around the Winslow family. I can understand why there were some issues with the older cast members about the character development of the Urkel. 
  • The weather is finally getting nice in NYC. Spring is my favorite season.
  • How do folks keep up with all of their social media accounts? Between my professional, personal, and job accounts, I have to manage 6 separate accounts. Plus, update 3 blogs. Clearly, I have not been doing a good job with blogging. 
    • Professional stuff: Twitter and LinkedIN
    • Random stuff: Instagram and Facebook. 
    • My program’s social media accounts: Instagram and Twitter
    • Running and training (I use both terms very loosely): WordPress and Squarespace (personal website)
    • My thoughts on higher education and scientific communications: WordPress. 
  • My mind has been so scattered lately. 
  • Married life is nice, but I have not noticed any real difference between married life and monogamous dating. Maybe, it’s due to my laidback (for the most part) personality. 

Enough randomness for now. Let’s see what y’all have been up to. 

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Random Thoughts Thursday: NYC Half Marathon Edition

Ok, I’m trying to get back to my normal blogging ( and yelping) life.

Here are a few things that have been running around my head (no pun) about this past half-marathon.

-I’m glad that I went for it, and the half marathon has jump-started my interest in getting my ass (literally) back in shape. Hopefully, I’m gonna follow up with some goals in upcoming posts. Once I submit this post, I’ll sign up for a few races to start my 9+1 journey to the NYC Marathon in 2020.

-Since my Apple Watch has a crack in the screen, it was kind of cool running a race without focusing on time. Actually, it was quite freeing.

-Speaking of my Apple Watch, that fucker is going to cost to $300 to fix. The damn watch was $350; I guess that I should have purchased the extended warranty.

-Seriously, where were the crowds? Now that I think of it, I finished the Half Marathon around 10 am, so maybe the race was too early for the crowds to come out and cheer for folks.

-I found out that many folks did not receive a medal. Ummmmmmm, wouldn’t NYRR know how many people registered for the United NYC Half Marathon? Perhaps, NYRR assumed that many of the registered folks would not show up to the race or not finish. You know something like, ordering 10% less food than the number of people that you invite to an event. Here’s the other thing (purely my opinion), I really do not see the point of receiving medals from races. Usually, the day after the race, my medal will go in a random bag or drawer, and I’ll probably not see it again until I move. I’m more interested in the technical tees. 

What an inspirational story. Thomas Panek is the first blind runner to complete the half marathon with guide dogs (Westley, Waffle, and Gus).

-I wonder if this guy ran the half marathon with this basket from the security checkpoint?

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-Added insult to injury. Thanks a lot for the reminder, Facebook. I was so close to meeting my goal (a sub 1:45) for the NYC Half back in 2016. I had to take a stupid poop during mile 3 three. 

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-Oh, I’m not a fan of Honey Stinger Energy Gels; they are way too viscous for me.

Race Report: NYC United Half Marathon

Date: March 17, 2019; 8:00 am

Distance: 13.1 mi

Place: Prospect Park, Brooklyn, NY

Weather: 34 F; 46% Humidity  

Finishers: 24,666 total (12,312 men / 12,354 women) 

Official time / pace:  2:11:18 / 10:01 min/mi 

You get the race that you train for. 

Going into this race, I really had no true expectations or goals aside from finishing. Although I did not run as well as I wanted to (due to lack of training on my part), I am glad that I went through with it. The night before the race, I was on the verge of not doing the race

For this entry, I guess that I could break this up in a few parts. 

Pre-race

NYC Half Marathon Outfit

Although I was assigned to Wave 1, I knew that I was not in Wave 1 shape. Plus, I did not want to have to arrive to Prospect Park by 6:25 am to check my bag. Then, it hit me. Do I really need or want to check a bag?  If I did not check a bag, then I could run in any wave, thus setting back my start time from 7:30 am to 8:40 am. Aka, I could wake up later.

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My plan was to leave the apt. at 6:00 am so I could run in the second wave. Yeah, that did not go so well. The idea was to take the A train to Metrotech and the F train from Metrotech to Prospect Park. First, the A train, which does make any stops from 125th street to 59th street and runs express, was running local from 125th street. Second, the F train was severely delayed so I had to take another A train future into Brooklyn, then take the G train (really, the G?) to Prospect Park. By the time I walked the mile or so from the subway to the security checkpoint, I knew that I would not make Wave 2. That said, I was not too bothered since I was kind of easy breezy with my start plans. At this point, I really wished that I had prepared a sandwich or something because I was kind of hungry before starting. 

Miles 1 – 4:

Prospect Park, Grand Army Plaza

Grand Army Plaza

The first third of the half-marathon gave us a bit of a tour of Prospect Park and took us through the streets of Brooklyn. During these miles, I started off pretty slow because I did not want to risk injuring anything or running out of steam during the first part of the race. Late January was the last time that I ran anything over 8 miles. Plus, I was concerned that the first three to five miles were going to be pretty hilly. I probably could/should have pushed myself harder, but I did not want to risk the end of the race. Looking back at my experience, I am glad that I did not push myself any harder during this part because I probably would not have finished the run. 

There were not really too many crowds out during this part of the race, which was kind of weird, but we did spend some time in the less popular sections (to me) of Prospect Park. 

Miles 4 – 8:

Manhattan Bridge

Manhattan Bridge. Probably the least popular of the bridges that span the East River.

This part of the half-marathon took us through downtown Brooklyn and into Manhattan. Crossing the Manhattan Bridge was one of the things that I looked forward to . . . and feared. I was surprised that I did not struggle too much with the Manhattan Bridge. I do not know why, but I thought that we were going to be running on the pedestrian and bike paths, which have very steep inclines. However, we ran across the upper level of the bridge, which had a gradual increase in steepness. I thought that I would have to walk the incline of the bridge so I was quite happy that I managed to run the entire bridge. 

Arriving in Manhattan was so lackluster. There were hardly any crowds. Then again, I am comparing the experience of crossing a bridge into Manhattan from my NYC Marathon experience. In the NYC Marathon, you can hear the crowd’s cheers on Manhattan’s 1st Avenue roaring from the Queensboro Bridge. In last weekend’s half, you barely heard a peep. There was someone with a loudspeaker telling us that we had seven miles left.  I guess something is better than nothing. 

This portion of the race took us through Chinatown and along FDR Drive, which was also pretty quiet. Also, the beginning part of FDR Drive was very sticky; it reminded me of a nasty movie theater. It was like a glue truck had dumped glue along a 1 – 1.5 mile stretch of the route. 

Miles 8 – 12

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This portion of the half marathon took us through some great and iconic NYC sites: the UN, the Chrysler Building, Grand Central, Bryant Park, Times Square, Carnegie Hall, and Central Park. 

The first part of the segment was kind of nostalgic because we ran past NYU School of Medicine, which is where I completed my graduate studies. We actually past my old apartment building and old laboratory. 

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So many memories of boozing and cruising around Murray Hill. I mean, concentrating on my studies in immunology and molecular oncology. 

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On our way to Times Square

Again, I was expecting more folks along the course. 

Grand Central, NYC

Grand Central

It was during this part of the half that I was becoming quite fatigued and a bit over the race. One cool aspect of the NYC Marathon is there were large crowds (maybe not in the Bronx) that power you through the race. For the NYC Half, you kind of had to power yourself through it. The large majority of this chunk of the race is pretty flat so that made life a little more simple, which took my mind off of my fatigue. I pretty much cranked up my tunes and kept saying “one foot in front of another.”

Times Square

I’m running through freakin’ Times Square!!!

I started to overheat a bit and, at mile 11, had to walk a little. I think taking a bunch of selfies, pictures, and videos in and near Times Square kind of drained my mojo. The sad part is many of the Times Square pictures did not come out right so pretty much a bunch of time wasted. 

Miles 12 – 13.1

Absolute disaster. I totally forgot about the little hills sprinkled in Central Park. These hills are not super steep or difficult to climb, but my legs were pretty much done at this point. Around mile 10, I started to feel soreness in both of my quads, which was general pain from not running for the past 45 or so days. My bad. To get back into the groove and to finish strong, I tried to fartlek between light posts in Central Park, but after three or four fartleks, I had to walk again. I think this is the first time that I ever had to walk during the last mile of any race. But hey, I should be happy that I made to mile 12 without too much of a struggle. 

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Although it was not my best half-marathon (and surprisingly not my worst), I still had somewhat of a blast. Well, a blast until the last mile. That last mile was a true killer. Since I did not do bag check, I could not take a picture with my medal and a cigarette.

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The woman taking the picture was supposed to get a shot with the medal FACING the camera.

 Post Race:

I was so lucky because the finish is pretty close to the bus line that more or less drops me off in front of my apt. Although the bus takes longer than the subway, I do not think that I could have walked up and down a bunch of stairs for the 2 or 3 train. Once I arrived to Harlem, I treated myself to a splendid, yet simple, brunch at Harlem Shake. I even got myself a nice mimosa. Once the cashier found out that I ran a half-marathon, she really hooked me up the champagne portion of the mimosa. BTW, the grits with turkey sausage are AMAZING.

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Since it was St. Patrick’s Day, I managed to fit in a few more drinks with the BF husband. Actually, I would have had a few more drinks even if it was not St. Patrick’s Day.

Whiskey, Irish Carbombs (the husband never had one before), and Pisco Sours

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A milk mustache from the Irish Carbombs.

I hope everyone had a great running weekend or a great chilling weekend. 

I know that I have been MIA

I’ve been dealing with some stuff. Buuuuut, it’s not like many people read this thing. 

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Well, I have a feeling that the NYC Half will not happen for me. Does anyone have a 10-day half-marathon training plan that they can hook me up with? The last time I ran any significant distance (5+ miles) was over three weeks ago.  Perhaps, I will do my 2017 NYC Marathon game plan for this half-marathon: run the first half “strong” and see where the rest of the race takes me. Hopefully, it will not take me to the emergency room. 

As most of my readers know, I do not really get into the details of my personal life, aside from my pooping, drinking, smoking, and general randomness. BUUUUUUT, I got married on Friday!!! Most of the time from my last entry involved entertaining out of town and out of the country guests. Today, my liver was like: you got one more day of drinking and eating fatty foods, bitch. 

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I feel like my Ernie doll, and Burt is MIA.

Catch you on the streets. 

United NYC Half Marathon Training Week 8

Planned mileage: 19.6mi

Completed mileage: 8mi

Eh, just another subpar training week. Unfortunately, I did not get a chance to complete my long run, which was supposed to be a 15K 😦 There was just way too much work to be done last week. 

Monday:

Planned: X-train

Completed: Rest

I was completely pooped from Sunday’s long run and figured that I needed a rest day. 

Tuesday:

Planned: 5mi

Completed: 5mi

Normally, I do my short weekday runs in Marcus Garvey Park (a block or two from my apt.), but I wanted a taste of

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Best view after running up a hill.

something different so I ran in Morningside Park. The park, which is right next door to Columbia U.,  is about 0.5mi from my apt. I will say that I really enjoyed doing a couple of loops in and around this park. As one goes from east to west in this part Manhattan, the elevation increases so this regular run became a bit of a hill workout too. Going forward, I really need to start incorporating some hill workouts in my training plan because the first part of the United NYC Half is very hilly. Also, we will have to run across the Manhattan Bridge from Brooklyn into Manhattan. 

Harlem

What a great view of Harlem

Unfortunately, this run did not go as well as I would have liked because I ran slower than what I would have liked. I think that I did not get enough sleep the night before (you know, snoring BF) and was super groggy the morning of this run. 

Wednesday:

Planned: Interval

Completed: Nada

I had a crap of work to complete and could not fit in a workout. Also, I had to stay late at work because the program that I direct had an event, which ended at 8:30 pm. Then, I had to go back to my office to finish work and pack all of the recruiting items that I needed for my work trip to D.C. I think that I finally left work around 10:30 – 11:00 pm.

Thursday:

Planned: 3mi

Completed: 3mi (interval) and stretching

Even though I was in work travel mode, I managed to fit in a quick run in my hotel’s gym. Rather than doing a regular 3mi run, I decided to alternate between easy and hard 800m intervals for this distance. Eh, something is better than nothing . . . I guess. This definitely was not a fun run because upon arriving to DC, I grabbed a burger and fries in Union Station, which is one of my favorite stations in the US.

Speaking of DC

I guess enough time (~1.5hrs) did not pass from my DC arrival to my workout at The Line DC. Let’s just say that I was very close to vomiting dinner on the treadmill. 

Off topic: 

I really liked the place, The Line DC, where I stayed during my work trip . . . although it was a little further from the nearest Metro station than I would have liked. 

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When I arrived to the hotel, I did not know if it was a museum, a monument, a bank, or an old courthouse. Upon entering the hotel, I realized that it was both a hotel AND a swanky, bougie ass lounge. Also, loved the fact that the rooms had a non-traditional hotel vibe to it. 

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I really liked the light fixtures and the “rustic” furniture in the room. 

Friday:

Planned: Rest

Completed: Rest

I really wanted to do some weight training before heading to the conference, but I did not wake up early enough. . .  I had to set up the university’s recruitment booth by 10 am. Also, I kind of stayed out till about 1:00 am drinking at a local bar near the hotel. I would have had a few drinks at the hotel, but the music was way too loud and I honestly did not feel like paying $18 bucks for weak-ass cocktails. 

I will say that I really enjoyed Larry’s Lounge, and the people there were very “chatty”. One of the guys kept giving me compliments about my booty. I guess that it’s nice to feel “pretty” every now and then. 

Saturday:

Planned: 15K

Completed: Nothing

There was no way in hell I was going to be able to complete this run. 

  1. I wanted to attend some early morning sessions that started at 7:30 am. Plus, I had to pack all of my crap so I could check out of the hotel and leave after the recruiting sessions at 4:30 pm. Actually, I probably could have gone for the morning run, because I really did not get much out of the sessions. 
  2. It was kind of cold Saturday morning. 
  3. After the conference, I met up with an old friend to have a few drinks before I headed back to NYC. 

Sunday:

Planned: ???

Completed: Nothing

Although there was nothing on my calendar for training, I told myself that I would go to the gym after teaching. By the time I finished class, I did not feel like doing anything besides getting something to eat and taking a damn nap. I guess that I’m getting older and need more time to recover from traveling. In my defense, I did pack my gym clothes and brought them with me to class with the intent of going to the gym after class.  

I did have a healthy smoothie at home. I combined apples, kiwis, blueberries, oranges, carrots and Tanqueray 10. The smoothie was so healthy that I had two of them. 

That’s my lame training week in a nutshell. I was kind of disappointed that I could not complete my long run, but I had a pretty intense work week that was supplemented with work travel. Hopefully, next will be more productive for my training. This half-marathon is a little over a month away.  

I am intrigued by this drinking app, SRVD. 

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15 Things on the 15th . . . 15 Facts about Me

Ok, once this entry is posted it will be the 16th; but technically, I wrote the post on the 15th. I got this idea from Tractorsandglam’s blog. 

Here goes. 

  1. Legally, I do not have a middle name. In Ghana, many folks combine their middle names with their last names. When my father immigrated to the States in the early 70s, he did the same. Speaking of half-assed paperwork. On my birth certificate for the place of origin of my father, it has Africa. Really, Virginia?!!! I’m sure that on June 25th, 1980, it was well known that Africa is a continent – NOT a country
  2. My favorite alcoholic beverage is gin. Most of y’all probably already knew that. 
  3. I almost drowned in Ecuador’s portion of the Amazon Basin. It was scary, and I lost a really nice watch. 
  4. I break out in hives whenever I see people with various types of skin disorders. Thankfully, it does not happen that much nowadays. 
  5. I love all of the Friday movies. I can probably recite most of the scripts for Friday and Friday after Next. “ Yes, you did. Cause my sister-in-law’s baby cousin, Tracy. told me that she saw you at the show all hugged up with some tramp. Now, tell me who she was.”
  6. Thanksgiving is my favorite family-based holiday. 
  7. Although I have a Ph.D. in Molecular Oncology and Immunology, I no longer do scientific work. However, I do miss conducting biomedical research from time to time. This reminds me, I have to respond to the reviewers’ comments for my manuscript. Ugh, I’ll do it tomorrow. 
  8. I really wish that I would follow more events in the news. 
  9. I’m an extroverted introvert. Although I can be really social, I kind of hate meeting new people. 
  10. Sometimes, I really hate being the only person of color in groups. 
  11. I think that I sing (and dance) much better than I do. 
  12. I wish that I was about 6 inches taller. 
  13. I really loved Christina Aguilera’s Spanish language album, Mi Reflejo. I think it was released back in 2001. 
  14. I have never seen a single Star Wars or Indiana Jones movie in its entirety. Oh Well. 
  15. I have been in only two fist fights as an adult. Which is surprising, because I do talk quite a bit of shit. FYI: I won one and “tied” for the other one
  16. (Ok a bonus fact). Sia’s “Breathe Me” makes me a little misty-eyed. I think it’s because the song was featured as the last scene during the last episode of “6 Feet Under”, one of my favorite shows of all time. 

A Nonrunning post – The Amazing Race

I hope everyone had a great Christmas holiday (or a relaxing last week of December and first week of January). I pretty much did not do anything that I had planned to during my self-imposed staycation, besides watch old episodes of The Amazing Race. I think it is fitting that The Amazing Race should be the subject of this post. Again, I know that I’m about 17 years late talking about this show. But hey, during this staycation, I pretty much watched seasons 2 – 17. Well . . . I skipped the family edition season. 

Just as an aside: Come to think of it, this has been the first time for as long as I can remember that I was not expected to do anything over Christmas break. Yes, I know that this is a 1st world problem. Just looking back on my facebook memories, I realized that I have worked every Dec. 31st since 2003. So yes, I took a little time for myself although I’m a little disappointed that I have gained about 5-7 pounds during this “break” (far too many eggnog martinis, gin and gingers, and champagne-based beverages).

Most of these views may have already been shared by the millions of people who regularly watch The Amazing Race, but I’m going to list some things that I love/hate about this show

Hate: The general ignorance/borderline racism of many of the contestants. 

  • Don’t these folks understand that the entire world does not speak or does not have to speak English? The way how some of these contestants speak to many of the host countries’ inhabitants is downright disgusting. 
  • In one episode the following statements were made. “He [refering to Joan of Arc] was the one that put the animals on the ark?”; “How do they make champagne? Do they mix wine with club soda?” “Man, I did you know that there is a town called Champagne in France?” Where in the hell are these people found? More importantly, where did they attend high school or college?  
  • One of my favorite contestant/taxi dispatcher (Oakland, CA) exchange so far. 
    • [Contestant] Hurry up! We need a taxi, NOW. This is for a million dollars. 
    • [Dispatcher] I don’t care! I ain’t getting any of it. 

Love: The desire to acquire even more stamps on my passport. 

  • I’m looking at you, Seychelles. That place is BEAUTIFUL.seychelles_beach_bridge

Hate: The couples that go on this show to make or break their relationship. 

  • If you cannot stand your partner in everyday, normal life, then you probably will not like the motherfucker after being with him/her 24/7 for ~30 days. One exception: if the couple is kicked off early in the competition because they will not have as much time to get on each other’s nerves. 

Hate: Dumb folks who haven’t watch previous seasons. This sentiment is more for the later seasons. 

  • From seasons 1 – 5, you have seen people drive cars with manual transmissions, bungee jump, climb crazy heights, swim, use road maps, and travel to various African, Latin American and Asian countries. Wouldn’t one learn how to drive stick and how to swim, get over certain fears, and memorize common phrases in other languages (especially Spanish, French, Mandarin, Vietnamese, Hindi, Bengali, and/or Punjabi) BEFORE applying to the damn show?

Annoyance: Especially in later seasons, the show seemed to be more Asian-centric. I swear there was one season that had five episodes in Asia (that could have been due to editing). For a few seasons, the show did not even visit the continent of Africa. Perhaps, it is tough to produce an American show in many African nations. 

Hate: Some of the contestants with disabilities. Hear me out. 

  • Many of the disabled contestants go on and on about showing the world that people with disabilities can do everything that someone without any disabilities can do. However, many use their disability to get every possible advantage. I’m not saying that they shouldn’t, but just call a spade a spade and keep it moving. I understand that production may tell these contestants to talk about their disability throughout the season so the fault may not fall entirely on the contestants. From the grapevine, I have learned that many of these types of shows give you a label and want you to keep it throughout the entire season (e.g. token gay couple, bitchy pretty blondes, dumb jocks, old couple, country bumpkins, etc.).

Love: Watching the whinny contestants bitch, moan, and have potential meltdowns. 

  • Did they think that they were going on a glamorous vacation? 

Love: Phil’s low-key shade with the contestants. ar17-051

Love: TV foreshadowing magic (damn, this could have been a post all on to itself).  

  • Teams that say they have a foolproof plan of getting into the top three, only to be eliminated one or two episodes later. 
  • Teams saying that they are super organized and meticulous, only to lose their passports and all of their money or not read a clue in its entirety. 
  • When you can tell that the episode will have a non-elimination leg. 
  • The team with all of this travel experience will book a connecting flight with a 15-min layover and miss the flight. Since the show pretty much makes sure everyone is on the same flights in later seasons, this really is not an issue any more 😦

One of my friends floated the idea of auditioning for this show back in 2011. It probably would have been a hot ass mess if we were contestants. I can see it now.

Me to my friend: This is some bullshit, and I’m not doing it. It’s too DAMN HOT OUT HERE.

My friend to me: Yeah, this blows. Let’s use the rest of the money to find a bar because I want a martini. 

Me: Word! I hope this city has Tanqueray. 

Phil:  KOS and A, you are the only team in the entire history of The Amazing Race that actively chose to use your money to bar hop and not do any of the challenges on this leg.

Ok, on to Season 18: Unfinished Business. 

I hope your holiday season was a “productive” as mine. 😉